Osheen Harruthoonyan is an experimental filmmaker and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. Drawing upon his rich experiences growing up in such diverse cities as Tehran, Athens and Vancouver, he employs a multi-faceted approach towards his artistic practice; investigating memory, history, identity and the deconstructive process of time. Osheen’s work has been featured on Bravo! Arts Channel andhis exhibitions have consistently been noted as top shows not to miss.
Osheen Harruthoonyan - Elephants Series
“Society, it seems, mistrusts pure meaning: it wants meaning, but at the same time, it wants this meaning to be surrounded by a noise which will make it less acute…
-Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
Osheen Harruthoonyan’s Elephants series addresses the purity of meaning embroiled in the faultiness of human memory. Combining the hand-manipulation of medium format negatives with traditional wet-darkroom printing; Harruthoonyan’s works achieve a representational lucidity akin to the smack of virtual light on the retina at the zenith of a nightmare. His ethereally manufactured locales describe the inevitable struggle that occurs in the surreal reconciliation of personal histories made vague with time. The missing faces of his subjects – situated in proportionately abstract scenarios – cleverly express the muddiness incurred in the recollection process.
Harruthoonyan’s photographic experiments rigorously depend on the incomplete and improbable potential of chemistry and light. This refreshing change from the often fast-and-dirty digital 21st century is, in and of itself, symbolic of a history that photographers everywhere are struggling to recall. His darkroom creations evoke our collective understanding of memory in its most raw and in-between state; as a noisy and less acute summoning that correctively interprets a moment in time.”
-Christine Lucy Latimer
Osheen Harruthoonyan - Black Garden Series
“It’s easy to lose sight of exactly who you are while passing through the ‘Black Garden’. At the start, things are clear, there’s you and there’s the land, you each have your names and the division is simple.
Yet even from a peak within Nagorno-Karabakh you’re lost in the panorama. Mountain after mountain begets valley upon valley. A singular road runs through it all and though the end is too far to make out, you trust there’s an end. In your immediate vicinity at any given time you lose yourself in the intimacy of the trees, the overgrown foliage, the tombstones of an abandoned graveyard like fossilised crevices disintegrating in the wind. Voices buried beneath the moss, and cumulative silence, whisper about war.
There are small signs of life, a singular bird, a crucifix like a question mark that would cease to be seen if not for a blinking flame between the dripping walls of a crumbling cave. As night falls, shadows cannot be deciphered from leaves. Something floats by your eye, mouches volontes, a schism in the visual fabric, produced by your mind or the air, it does not matter. Your heart beats out what colour is left of the fading day and at once you are included and excluded from the landscape…”
– Amy Pagnotta